My Cousin Told Me. Therefore, It’s True.

This morning while showering a Beth Orton song entered my head and although it remained active and bouncy the entire time it was visiting, I simply could not get it to leave. The song is called “Worms.” The verse that overstayed its welcome went like this:

Chickens don’t fly

But they have got the wings

No matter how hard they try

They bump into things

Then, I began to think about chickens. I thought of another song as well. It’s by the Mountain Goats. The song is called “Dilaudid” and the verse goes like this:

All the chickens come on home to roost

Plump bodies blotting out the sky

You know it breaks my heart in half, in half

When I see them trying to fly

‘Cuz you just can’t do things your body wasn’t meant to

What’s up with songs about chickens? There are a few other chicken songs, too. That little red bastard, the muppet who’s stuck in perpetual state of puberty, sings one about dancing. And I know there was an older song where the guy in the chorus keeps saying. “Ain’t no one here but us chickens. Ain’t no one here at all.” But I think the use of the word “Chicken” in this instance is about being afraid.

I’m sure there are other chicken songs but it’s early and I’ve already thought of four. But I’m not necessarily writing to discuss fowl in songwriting.

You see, in spite of what Ms. Orton and Mr. Darnielle tells us, I happen to know for a fact that some chickens can fly. At least that’s what my cousin told me. And while it was in the form of song, she told me that many times she will go out back to find her chickens and they’re not around. Upon looking a little further, she finds her free-roaming chickens in the trees. She told me about her chickens at least 10 years ago and I still visualize the scenario at least once a year. I picture a backyard with a tire swing. There are a few half-used, waterlogged citronella candles here and there. I picture patches torn throughout the grass introducing dark brown, thick mud. Its dotted with little chicken footprints. I picture two trees: one, is chicken-free, the other dotted with plump, white chickens. I picture them squawking and bitching at her as she takes away their eggs, like a dozen old, cranky toothless men.

So, my question to both Beth and John is this: How did my cousin’s chickens get in that tree?

Edite to add: This post reminded me of this old gem:

The inner mihow really can’t fly.


  1. When I was younger, parents raised chickens. Apparently, when you don’t clip their wings they can fly over a 5 foot fence. We once had one get out and I remember catching it was fun, since it could fly away.


  2. Debra, you should write a song.


  3. It seems like there is already a song about a chicken flying the coop.


  4. really? where. Do share. I need to know more songs about chickens. I want more chicken songs.


  5. Chickens don’t so much “fly” as they do fling themselves into things at a rapid speed by flapping their wings. I think this is why I can so relate to them.

    They can get up into trees though by sort of fly/hop/flinging themselves from branch to branch.


  6. Amanda, the fling themselves? Incredible.

    I can’t believe no one has written yet to tell me how freaking amazing I am at speed-drawing in Illustrator.


  7. Actually, I did use you in an argument the other day as an example of how much more efficiently people can do graphics when experienced. This guy said,”Graphic design isn’t exactly rocket science,” when I suggested hiring someone. So you are amazing at speed drawing and making muffin posters!


  8. Do you have his name and number?

    ::mihow grabs the baking soda::

    ::mihow licks the stamp::

    I have a little something I’d like to send that guy.

    That’s probably not very funny. But, again, you can send all and any hate mail to ihatemihow at this domain dot com. I have a collection.


  9. This is also the guy who didn’t understand that I was using a 5 year old version of Illustrator at home because the old one works just fine and doesn’t crash my computer. So, go ahead and send him any hate mail you would like.:)


  10. Send him this:

    Dear Dude.

    That’s right.


  11. HA! You’re awesome! I’m bringing that to the next meeting.


  12. That is some really, really bad speed Photoshop on the fly.

    Good thing I’m not busy this week.


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